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Live Chat today at 4pm Eastern: "Why School? How Education Must Change When Information and Learning Are Everywhere"

Author Will Richardson will be joining us for a live Q&A today at 4pm Eastern!

Continuing with our series of TED book chats, for the next week and a half we'll be discussing Will Richardson's new TED eBook, "Why School?"

Traditional educators, classrooms, and brick-and-mortar schools are no longer necessary to access information. Instead, things like blogs and wikis, as well as remote collaborations and an emphasis on 'critical thinking' skills are the coins of the realm in this new kingdom. Yet the national dialogue on education reform focuses on using technology to update the traditional education model, failing to reassess the fundamental model on which it is built.

In TED's new eBook, "Why School?", educator, author, parent and blogger Will Richardson challenges traditional thinking about education—questioning whether it still holds value in its current form.

The book is available for Kindle, Nook, and iOS devices (which have a great new custom TED Books app):

Kindle copy: http://www.amazon.com/Why-School-Information-Everywhere-ebook/dp/B00998J5YQ
iOS app: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ted-books/id511071050?mt=8

You can also read more on Will's blog: http://willrichardson.com

So, let's get things started... when information is everywhere, what is the purpose of traditional schools?

Topics: education
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  • Oct 2 2012: Teaching as a profession will never be replaced. No matter how far our civilisation progresses technologically, teachers will always be there teaching, because the aim of students has always been to be better humans and not a better computer. There are countless intangibles that teachers bring when they teach. Passion, compassion, various attitudes essential to social excellence that are learnt through indirect channels like non-directed modelling. No matter what anyone says, the highs and lows, the faults and flaws, those numerous years spent in classrooms are a big part of who we are, our learnt identity, and no one will deny that the teacher would always be the integral part of that environment. Sure, it could have always been better, like everything in life, there are bad teachers and good teachers but ask anyone who has had a passionate teacher touch their life, and they will tell you, a world without those people will not be a world where you want to live in. Watch Dan Pink's TED talk about motivation, and you will probably associate teaching as one of those professions that don't require monetary reliance for excellence. Teachers are those kind of people who are people centred, they care for the present as much as the future. They care about learning and enjoy those moments as their reinforcement. Given the right system, these are the kind of people that will find you your solution for the new age problem of Education systems. Open source curriculum, promise them immunity from political bureaucratic nuisances, cloth them, feed them, give them the tools they require to teach but most important of all, promise them a hand at making a better future for their children, a better tomorrow tomorrow for their love ones, and you will see a billion passionate teachers rise.

    But enough emotion already, what is teaching and what is learning? If we as a society can get together and get those definitions down, then we can start reinforcing quality teaching and learning.
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      Oct 8 2012: I agree that the last two questions you ask here are vital to discuss. I think in this world of abundant connections, teaching changes. Learning becomes more self-directed, more inquiry based. Much more messy and fluid than the structures of schools can accomodate.
    • Oct 8 2012: Ronald, thank you for that! You stated it very well. Your words need to be spread to the school community...mostly parents and the public.

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